If you ask many exotic pet keepers why they look after an assortment of strange and unusual animals many will simply say “because I love them!” and in my heart I know I feel a similar way.
I want to surround myself with exotic pets just like other people love to watch the football or go to the gym. It’s just a part of me. I find myself daydreaming about exotic animals when I’m bored. I find myself staring endlessly into the cages of my pets to see what they’re up to. And I have an ever-growing collection of books and magazines on the subject.
But let’s try to break down the obsession that many of us have with exotic pets and try to look in a little more depth at the reasons for keeping exotic pets – quite simply what do people find so appealing about them?
A Taste Of The Unusual
By their very nature exotic pets are unusual animals. After all, how many people do you know who keep a praying mantis or a gecko? Not half as many as have a dog or a cat I’m sure.
One popular reason for keeping exotic pets is that there are people (like me!) who appreciate the unusual and the exotic. Everyday pets have their place but to me they can be quite boring if I’m honest. I love the thrill of something new.
Equally I think this is why many people don’t like exotic pets because most people are afraid of anything unusual and anything they don’t understand. These are the people who scream if they see a tarantula in a pet store. Exotic pet keepers love this variety though – it’s all part of the fun.
A Form Of Escapism
When you have an attractively-designed vivarium in your home containing some exotic creature then staring into that cage can be a real form of escapism from the pressures and practicalities of everyday life.
It is a similar situation with aquariums. Put an aquarium or a vivarium in the same room as me and as far as I’m concerned I really don’t care whether I have a TV or not. Peering into that other world can transport you to another world – whether that’s the middle of the rainforest, a barren sun-bleached desert or an underwater world of turtles or toads.
A Journey Of Constantly Expanding Knowledge
There is so much you can learn from an exotic pet that another great reason for keeping exotic pets is the constant search for knowledge. The longer you keep an animal the more that you learn about it. You learn about their environmental requirements, their feeding, perhaps even their breeding. It’s like a daily science class except rather than having to learn from books the creatures you’re getting to know are right there in your living room.
There are also numerous books, discussion forums and newsletters that you can purchase to increase your knowledge even further and of course there are so many species of exotic pet that as soon as you start to get a decent grasp on one species there will be another that grabs your attention and begs to be bought and learned about.
Furthermore this isn’t just learning for learnings sake. Much of this knowledge can be shared and applied to not only help other exotic pet keepers to look after their animals more successfully but it can also be used to help us captive breed endangered species to preserve them for future generations.
A Constantly Shifting Challenge
The combination of the circle of life and the constant discoveries about exotic pets provides a constant challenge. The more your learn about a species the better you can become at keeping it but there are plenty of potential challenges from accurately modelling the natural environmental conditions of your chosen exotic pet through to attempting to breed them in captivity to learning to sex them at a young age.
As soon as you have one skill mastered you’ll find there are others to turn your hand to and the virtually never-ending number of species in the hobby means it’s impossible for anyone to know everything and that there are, and always will be, exciting new species to keep, discoveries to make and challenges to meet.
Keeping exotic pets therefore isn’t a hobby you will get bored with. It’s never the same and that dynamic is really a big part of the fun of keeping exotic pets.
A Passionate Group Of People
The last of the reasons for keeping exotic pets that I’d like to mention is that the hobby consists of a huge number of incredibly nice, talented, experienced and passionate people who are keen to welcome you into the hobby.
By joining local groups, internet discussion forums and going to breeders meetings and exotic pet stores you can quickly build up a network of great friends who share your interests. They will share knowledge with you, offer you any advice you need and congratulate you on your successes.
In short, keeping exotic pets is a social hobby and it makes meeting interesting people both enjoyable and easy.
What are your reasons for keeping exotic pets? Why not leave me a comment in the box below and let me know your own opinions on the subject – particularly if you think I’ve missed any key points…